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Age Issue!! Repeat K or go to first grade?


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grisel June 15, 2013


My daughter will be turning 6 on 9/12, so she basically misses the cutoff in the public schools to go into 1st grade by 11 days! However, last school year, she was at a private school that did not have the age requirement and so I made the choice of letting her start K before turning 5. I figured I would play it by ear and worst case scenario if she didn't master the curriculum, she would be going into K again when she transfered to the public school. So now however, I have a very tough decision to make because the school is giving me the option of placing her in K or 1st. Overall, she did extremely well in K and graduated with principal's honor roll! She was just recently evaluated at the incoming public school and she came out at a mid 1st grade reading level. She can also add and subtract, tell time, count coins, etc. I do feel that she had a very good, but rigorous K curriculum at the private school. So I know for a fact that at the very least she has mastered the K curriculum, if not surpassed it. After evaluating her, the school themselves are actually suggesting she go to 1st grade, including the reading specialist, principal and K and 1st grade teachers I spoke to. But my issue is not if she's ready academically, but more socially because of the age factor. She is very shy and takes time to warm up to both adults and kids. However, she is not by any means immature. She actually is a very responsible little girl, mature and just LOVES to learn new things and soaks everything up! That is why I am scared that she will not be challenged enough in K again and basically waste a year! I know regardless she will still grow academically in K, it's not she is going to regress or anything! but it is possible she may not make as much growth, as if she was being exposed to 1st grade curriculum. My school does not have a K gifted placement (unfortunately), this only starts in 1st grade. Which would be a good option for her the following year if she did K again! What do I do? She will always be the youngest going into 1st! And I can't help but wonder if this will affect her THAT MUCH for the rest of her educational career? That it's actually worth having her do another year of K!!

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TeacherParent June 19, 2013


The shyness you're describing - only speaking to her teacher in a whisper - would concern me. That is not typical shyness. Is it only her teacher she addresses in a whisper? Does she address anyone else in a whisper - aunts, uncles, cousins, the mailman, the family doctor?

With that kind and level of shyness - in the ideal world - I'd want to observe different teachers to see which teacher might be the best match for her - regardless of whether it's K or 1. Teachers are different - some are warm, some not, some have a particular gift for working with children, others don't. Some are very patient with the children who are shy, some aren't.

But it's summer and it's not possible to observe teachers in summer. I might put my ear to the ground and find out what folks are saying about the K teacher(s) and the 1st grade teacher(s). Usually the neighborhood moms know who the meanie teacher is, who the nice teacher is, which teacher is burnt out and which not.

A good teacher can make for a great school year whether that year is in K or 1.
Good luck.

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grisel June 18, 2013


Thanks for your input. It does put things in perspective. And yes she would be only a couple days younger than the few youngest in the class but some kids will be a year older. But saying that, someone will always have to be the oldest and the youngest! About the level of her shyness, after a while yes she made friends, interacted with her peers and eventually spoke to her teacher but only after a few months and even after that she still spoke at a whisper sometimes with her teacher! I do realize thats just her personality and she doesnt have to be a social butterfly to be happy! But I do know that shy kids do suffer when this shyness stops them from doing things they want to do! As a shy person myself when I was a kid, I can totally relate! So i cant help but wonder if another year in k would take some of this shyness away!

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TeacherParent June 16, 2013


Children can be shy regardless of their age or what grade they are in. Did your daughter's shyness pose problems in her kindergarten? It doesn't seem to have hurt her academic performance in any way. Did she eventually feel comfortable in her kindergarten class and form friendships? Did she come to feel comfortable with her teacher?

There's nothing in what you say about your daughter that would have me consider another year in K for her. 9 days younger is not 9 months younger. That said, i don't think you could make a mistake by placing her in K again either.

But if you're leaning toward placing her in 1st, the fact that she's shy ishould not be an obstacle - unless you're saying she's so shy she never warmed up to her teacher or ever came to feel comfortable in her K class.

You might ask around a bit... And see what you hear about the K teacher and the 1st grade teacher.


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MagnetMom June 15, 2013


Hi grisel and welcome to GreatSchools Parent Community.

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. Age cut offs are just that--arbitrary. They could make them January 1, June 1, or any other day of the year, and some kids are going to be on one side of it, and others will be on the other side.

It's a tough decision to decide whether to move a young child forward or to hold them back to gain a social or academic advantage. That being said, I think you have enough information to make a very informed decision. Your teachers and administration say shes' ready to go. For girls, it's less of an issue for social things, but there are a few things you want to think about.

Socially, you will want to think longer term: about whether you want her hanging around with older kids in high school, being around boys who turn 18 in high school, and being the last to drive. She will conceivably go to college and still not be able to sign her own paperwork, and need permission slips at least until she turns 18.

But if she's ready and everyone feels she is, I wouldn't worry as much. My son was a November baby, and he graduated college last year. Perspective wise, I might have waited, but he is adamant being the youngest was not the worst thing, and indeed he is happy he was the youngest.

Good luck with your decision, and let us know what you decide.



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